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Castelvecchio
Image: Steve Hart

Richard Litt is weighing up his options for Black Duke, including whether to pit him against a crack field of three-year-olds in the Hobartville Stakes at Rosehill.

Black Duke is among 18 entries for the time-honoured $400,000 Group Two feature over 1400 metres on Saturday.

Named after one of Australia’s oldest and most historic thoroughbred stud farms, the Hobartville Stakes has long been regarded as a launch pad for three-year-olds heading towards the Sydney autumn classics.

This year’s nominations include stakes winners Ole Kirk, Peltzer, King’s Legacy, North Pacific and Group One-winning New Zealander Aegon.

Litt said Black Duke, who ran fourth in the Group Three Vo Rogue Plate over 1400m at Eagle Farm on January 2, had done well since a let-up and was ready to go again following a recent second to I am Superman in a Rosehill trial.

“He ran a nice trial last week and Nash (Rawiller) was very pleased but he suggested the 1400 metres might be a little sharp for him fresh so we may opt for the 1250 metres at Canterbury,” Litt said.

“But the horse is going really well and while it’s a very strong race, we think he is up to that company.

“I’ll accept for both races and we’ll see where we end up.”

While Nash Rawiller rode Black Duke in Queensland and in his recent trial, it will be gun apprentice Tom Sherry who takes the reins on Saturday.

Sherry has ridden the son of 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente in five of the horse’s eight career starts, which include his lone win at Canterbury in August.

Litt said Black Duke had a much better temperament since being gelded in the spring and the stoutly-bred galloper would only get better with time.

“At the moment he’s very sharp but he’s got his share of ability and he’s very sound,” Litt said.

“We’ve got him nominated for the Australian Derby so we’ll see how things develop.”

 
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